- Series: Star Wars
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; First Edition/First Printing edition (September 2, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553392867
- ISBN-13: 978-0553392869
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 569 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A New Dawn (Star Wars) Hardcover – September 2, 2014
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“A New Dawn is a fine start to the new Expanded Universe. [John Jackson] Miller steps confidently into the unexplored territory and owns it; he’s crafted a story with pacing and dialogue that feels like classic Star Wars.”—Nerdist
“An entertaining adventure . . . with a cast of heroes that mixes laughter with intriguing depths of character. . . . John Jackson Miller packs in plenty of action and surprises.”—Roqoo Depot
“A confidently told story that gives fans a lot of reason to be hopeful about what’s to come as we move into this new phase of Star Wars . . . The book certainly got me even more excited for Rebels and to see more of Kanan and Hera’s adventures. We’re also introduced to other characters I would love to see again at some point, whether on Rebels, in another book or, who knows, in live-action at some point.”—IGN
“A New Dawn delivers a classic Star Wars experience that fans of all ages will be able to enjoy. It is extremely well-written, with an incredibly diverse cast too. Miller’s prose can easily suck readers in, and leave them speechless when 100 pages have flown by in the blink of an eye.”—Far Far Away Radio
“A New Dawn brings us into this new dawn of storytelling with energy, excitement, and characters that have become instantly ensconced into the Star Wars vernacular, and the results will satisfy Star Wars fans of many different palates.”—Coffee with Kenobi
“A New Dawn is a well-written novel full of intrigue and twists and turns that does an excellent job of letting Star Wars fans get to know Kanan and Hera.”—Tosche Station
“A New Dawn finds an era never before written about in the Star Wars universe—the years prior to the original movie, Episode IV—in robust good health. The narrative takes place on two worlds and a handful of ships in between them, but as with the best of all Star Wars moments, hints at hidden depths beyond.”—Mashable
About the Author
Writer and game designer John Jackson Miller is the author of Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: Knight Errant, and Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories, as well as nine Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic graphic novels. His comics work includes writing for Iron Man, Mass Effect, Bart Simpson, and Indiana Jones. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife, two children, and far too many comic books.
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The book has a quick pace, and an interesting cast of characters. Most of the story takes place on one out-of-the-way planet and its unique moon. At first, I thought I'd find this limited setting boring. I suppose I was expecting Kanan and Hera's first adventure to take them all over the galaxy, but most of the action takes place on the ground.
The thing I enjoyed most about this book was watching the main characters get to know each other and start to see each other differently. Even though the story spends a lot of time on character, it maintains its fast pace, which kept me turning pages.
John Jackson Miller's writing is engaging and feels like Star Wars. I've read many Star Wars novels in which the author tries too hard or gets cute with the descriptions. Miller doesn't invent any new alien species. He sticks with species we've seen in the films or TV series. I think that's a plus. Miller struck the right tone.
The story takes place about eight years after *Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith*, and about six years prior to the start of the *Star Wars: Rebels* animated series. Since Kanan and Hera, the two main protagonists of the novel are two of the characters on *Rebels*, this is obviously more of a prequel novel than anything else.
The novel follows the exploits of Kanan Jarrus, who holds a secret - he is the Jedi Caleb Dume, a Padawan of Jedi Master Depa Bilaba, who gave her life to save Kanan from the clones who turned on them at Palpatine's orders.
A quick note here. It should be stated that, according to one of the showrunners of *Rebels*, the clones had no choice in the matter due to stuff implanted in them at birth. They HAD to kill the Jedi when given the code by Palpatine. As of this time the book takes place, not just volunteers like Skelly, but actual clone troopers are not just dealing with clone illnesses like those dealt with in the also Canon *Star Wars: The Clone Wars* series, but also immense guilt over murdering the Jedi against their own will. Moreover, with his grip on the galaxy seemingly solidified, Palpatine's Empire is starting to show it's true colors. The galaxy is a hugely horrific, brutal place to live under the Empire.
Anyways, as of the moment the story opens, Kanan is in a sorry state. He is a cynic who hates his past life and wants to just hop from place to place to avoid detection and survive. Having been on the run for nearly a decade has turned him into a womanizing, selfish man. At least, that is what he *wants* it to make him. Underneath that cold, self-centered exterior is the idealistic super-hero wannabe, Caleb.
When a troublemaker forces Kanan to use the Force to save himself and others, he decides to leave his current planet of choice, Gorse, and go find work elsewhere. He already has stayed longer than he should have, he muses, and so on his way he goes. Then he sees a beautiful Twilek woman named Hera, and is swept up in an insane adventure with her, and other characters, doing a very "Caleb" thing, much to his chagrin.
Hera is the second main character, and she manages to get under Kanan's skin, much to her amusement, chagrin, and (when Kanan proves to be useful for stopping the plans of the Empire) pleasure. It's funny to see her go from someone who is annoyed, but amused, at Kanan's flirting, to someone who is intrigued, though not romantically interested, with him.
What made Hera cool is that she is badass. She is not to Kanan's level, given Kanan's old training and access to the Force, but she is skilled enough that you might conclude she'd outstrip him if he wasn't a Jedi. She is more idealistic than Kanan, but has a strange cynicism in her own way. It's hard to explain how without being too spoilery, but just suffice it to say that she must learn that not everything in life can be second-fiddle to her crusade.
I said earlier that Kanan has the super-hero wannabe inside in his old "Caleb Dume" identity. I can kinda empathize. When I went in the Army, I was the uber-patriotic guy, and still am I would argue, but I had rose-colored blinders on then that have since been lifted. I thought it would be heroic and being the "good guy". Actual war dissuaded me of that notion. It's hard, harsh, difficult, nerve-wracking, guilt inducing, so on. Real-world war heroes are not like comic book folks, but they are fallible because they are real. I am more jaded now, and I didn't have a galaxy-spanning Empire try to murder me.
The story was half-introductory adventure and half-mystery. Since the bad guy is a political servant of the Emperor trying to gain more influence on Coruscant (the capital world), he naturally has others nipping at his heels. The heroes end up exploiting this to make headway in stopping the bad guy. Some might find the ending kinda sudden, but if they view it as political intrigue and study how such things go in real-life authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, it actually has some realism... uh, other than the sci-fi/fantasy stuff, I mean.
The reason I didn't give this book the highest rating, despite enjoying it so much was because the story started out a tad slow. It picked up in interest about a hundred pages through or so. Then it was fun.
The only problem I have with the bad guy is that he is almost cartoonish in his villainy. I almost expected him to grow a cybernetic mustache to twirl. He was a bit cliched, and that hurt the novel. Other than that, the characters were fun and kinda realistic to who they were in this environment. If you stripped away the fantastical elements, they make sense given their histories and what not.
I loved this first entry in the new, integrated (movies, television, books, so on) *Star Wars* Canon, and I heartily recommend it and the *Star Wars: Rebels* series, by the by. Good stuff.
I really like supporting cast more though. I feel really get to know Vidian and Sloane more. I wanted more of this from our two protagonists but I am guessing the author has limits on this as well.
Overall, it is a good read and fits well with the saga. It shows the cutthroat competition of life as an imperial as well as the desiccated shell of life that ordinary people had to endure. Thanks for the story.